At Sew4Home, there's little time for the traditional R&R: rest and relaxation! Instead, we have our own definition; in our studios, R&R stands for: "Re-imagine & Renovate." It's all about putting a new spin on a favorite design, picking new fabrics, trims and notions to create a unique look. This week's Put A Gift In It message is ideal for today's basket pair. Wide and shallow, they are designed to be the perfect, easy-to-fill gift baskets. We provide cutting dimensions for both a small (apx. 8" x 5" x 3") and large (apx. 10" x 6" x 4") basket, which nest together for easy storage. Load one up with scrumptious treats or... pick out a few inexpensive items at the store and build your own custom-themed basket for a baby or wedding shower, birthday or housewarming. Wrapping up everyday items in a handmade basket, especially one the gift recipient can use again and again, turns the ordinary into something super special.
Each fabric has its own personality; and just like mixing interesting guests at a dinner party gives you dozens of fascinating conversations - how you combine fabric in a project gives you an unlimited number of beautiful end results. That's the idea behind our R&R series: we Re-imagine and Renovate a classic design to come up with a whole new look. This week we have four wonderful projects under the Put A Gift In It theme: innovative ways to wrap up a special something for a special someone. Today's cute and casual tote is named after my favorite Angela, our oldest daughter. She designed it herself and always gets tons of compliments on it. We recently featured the original bag on our Pinterest boards and immediately got dozens of repins. Seemed like a great time to give it a new look for the new year! This is a super simple project you can easily make in an afternoon. With two inside pockets and its unique tall design, the bag holds a surprising amount of stuff at a finished size of just 12" x 9" x 2" (excluding the cool top waves).
I think a lot of people in our S4H audience like stuff to put other stuff in. Every time we do any kind of a storage solution here, we get rave reviews. Our structured fabric baskets are at the top of that list. We have a new variation of them today in Jenean Morrison's In My Room collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics. I call them box-baskets. They're created in essentially the same manner as a number of our previous baskets, but we've changed the shape, the height, and the base in order to give them more of the feel of a box. And, we're using a heavy canvas strapping for the easy-to-grab side handle loops. We've worked with Jenean before and just love her. This new collection is wonderfully reminiscent of the playful little patterns of the sixties and seventies, which ties into collection's name; In My Room is also a Beach Boys hit from their 1963 Surfer Girl album.
Today we're introducing a brand new designer for S4H, Felicity Miller. It was a suggestion from FreeSpirit to give her brand new collection, Charleston Farmhouse a try, and we are so glad we agreed. Everyone who came into contact with this fabric in the Sew4Home studios loved it. We knew we wanted to do an apron, and in order to be able to use a number of different fabrics from within the collection, we decided to make the apron reversible. We've done it up in vintage "farm girl" style with an over-the-head bib; a wide sash that ties low at the waist for a long, comfy look; and a deep bottom ruffle.
In medieval times, when the local castle was home not only to the landed aristocracy but also many of the surrounding townspeople as well as extended family and friends, the great hall was where just about everything took place, including meals. The very first tables were literally just large boards. When not in use, the board was hung on the wall. When ready for a meal, it was brought down and balanced on the knees of the diners. If you've ever wondered where the "board" of room and board came from... now you know; it meant a place at the table or board. This historical preamble seems apropos given today's table linen fabric is Godwin from the Victoria & Albert Museum collection by Rowan Fabrics. Godwin is based on designs by Edward William Godwin, an English architect and designer who, during the mid to late 1800s, was known as a progressive and experimental artist, one of the first to introduce a Japanese influence to the European design repertory. You can see this in the "Bamboo" fabric used in our elegant table runner.
The classic pillow shape is the square. But if that seems a little too, well... square for your home décor happiness project, soften it with a beautiful ruffle. Not only does does a ruffle give your pillow a more interesting shape, it's also a great way to bring in a second fabric and really make a pillow pop. Today's hip-to-be-square pillow is the third of our trio in Jennifer Paganelli's Happy Land collection, part of our 10 Designers & 10 Collections series for FreeSpirit and Rowan Fabrics. The back features a pretty double-bow envelope closure, which means you can pull out the insert and make a new pillow cover whenever the mood strikes you.
If you're happy and you know it... make a pillow. Pillows are one of the best things for a beginner to tackle; they're fast and fun projects for anyone and immediately brighten up your décor. Today's pillow in Jennifer Paganelli's Happy Land for FreeSpirit Fabrics is what I envision Little Miss Muffet's tuffet must look like. Even though you end up with a completely different look, today's pillow is constructed similarly to Monday's Happy Land bolster pillow. They both start as a tube. In this case, you gather the top and the bottom, cinching the fabric to create the cushion shape. You then conceal your gathering points with jumbo covered buttons.
Two recent self improvement books that took the best-seller lists by storm centered on how to be happier: The Happiness Projectby Gretchen Rubin and her follow-up, Happier at Home. Here at S4H, we believe one of the best ways to be happier is to surround yourself with home décor that makes you smile. Why are you smiling? Because you made it yourself! We knew one of our 10 Designers & 10 Collections had to be Happy Land by Jennifer Paganelli for FreeSpirit Fabrics. Even though it's been out for awhile (a Fall 2012 debut), it caught our eye back then, and we've been waiting for a chance to use it. In fact, the Happy Land collection made us so happy, we were inspired to make three different pillows. Today's is a mini bolster. It looks fancy with its ruched center panel, piping accents and candy wrapper ends, but it's easier than you might think... because easy makes us happy!
What's the lifeblood of any wardrobe? Accessories! Why do we love accessories so much? Because they're a fast, economical way to jump start an old outfit. Throw on a belt, wrap up in a scarf, add a fabric flower pin... suddenly, it's a whole new look and feel. The small size of accessories also makes them a great way to try out new substrates, like the beautiful rayon we're using today from Valori Wells' Novella collection. Our long, beautiful scarf has an elastic channel through the middle, allowing it to ruche up into a fun, ruffly shape secured at each end with a pretty little bow. We made two scarves, each one in two coordinating rayons. Wear them separately or together. For yourself or as a gift, these quick and easy accessories are a great way to brighten up anyone's wardrobe for the new year.
I may be dating myself here, but how many of you remember the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland® and DisneyWorld®? When I was little, it was one of my very favorite attractions at the theme park. True, there was no whooshing around a snow covered mountainside or flying through deep space. You were just sitting there on a long wooden bench next to other sweaty tourists, but you were surrounded by talking, singing birds in every size and color imaginable. It was a riot of sound, a tropical kaleidoscope. That's what's today's collection from Philip Jacobs reminded us of, and we came up with wonderful way to use his gorgeous bold motifs: a colorful patchwork throw to wrap up in and chase way the dull, grey winter days. The patchworking on this throw is very easy, and the quilting is done with a 9mm decorative stitch at each seamline, adding an extra splash of color and texture and uniting all the floral blocks.